Important legal notice
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Health - Taking the temperature of European healthcare
“To assess alternatives to testing chemicals on animals.”

The problem

Modern life involves exposure to a huge and increasing number of chemical compounds, each with their own uses and dangers. There is a pressing need for better and quicker ways to perform risk-assessment studies on these chemicals, while minimising the use of testing on animals. The new European chemicals regulations (REACH), which entered into force in June 2007, have focused attention on in vitro tests based on Quantitative Structure Activity Relationships (QSARs), but these tests do not currently fulfil all the necessary quality and consistency criteria. Collaboration among international experts is urgently required to make QSARs fit for this use.

SCARLET  Testing chemicals without using animals


SCARLET will bring together international experts to review the use of Quantitative Structure Activity Relationships (QSARs) for mutagenicity and carcinogenicity testing.

The project will:

  • Organise a multidisciplinary workshop on QSARs involving all key stakeholders, including regulators, scientists, animal welfare experts, citizen organisations, and the chemical industry
  • Facilitate the comparison and integration of individual studies in the field
  • Generate recommendations for the future use of computer-based methods in testing chemicals for carcinogenicity, mutagenicity and genotoxicity

Contribution to policy development:

  • SCARLET will promote the development of chemicals testing methods to support the policy of reducing the use of animals in testing.
  • It will provide sound criteria for the acceptance or rejection of QSAR models used to support chemicals testing policies.
  • The project will coordinate researchers and resources to enhance the development of globally accepted test guidelines that can be utilised by policy-makers.

Project deliverables

  • Work to identify and invite participants and prepare the workshop programme – months 1-9
  • The two-day workshop – month 9
  • Publication of results and recommendations – month 11
  • Final report – month 12


  • Publication of results and recommendations in an international scientific journal – for submission around month 11
  • The final report of the workshop – month 12
  • An internet site with a list of suitable software and databases for genotoxicity and carcinogenicity predictions – developed as information becomes available
  • Recommendations for the application of genotoxicity and carcinogenicity QSARs in a regulatory setting – months 11-12

Technical information

Project acronym: SCARLET
Project’s official full title: Structure-Activity Relationships Leading Experts in mutagenicity and carcinogenicity
Research priority: Public health issues, including epidemiology contributing to disease prevention and responses to emerging rare and communicable diseases, allergies, procedures for secure blood and organ donations, non-animal test methods
Specific webpage: not available
Proposal/contract no: 0044166
Start date: not available
Kick off meeting: not available
Completion date: not available
European Commission scientific officer: Christian Wimmer,

Name: Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche “Mario Negri”
Abbreviated name: IRFMN
Address: Via Eritrea 62, 20157 Milano
Country: Italy
Tel: +39 02 3901 4420
Fax: +39 02 3900 1916


Name: In Silico Toxicology
Abbreviated name: IST
Country: Germany

Name: Nestec S.A.
Abbreviated name: NESTEC
Country: Switzerland

Name: Istituto Superiore di Sanità
Abbreviated name: ISS
Country: Italy